Different Views on Education: USA vs France (Travel Blog)

In the article prior to this one, I made reference to a friend of mine who lives in Paris and was raised around French culture. As the trip was my first to France, he cared to educate me on much of France’s history, their society, ways of thinking, traditions, popular attitudes, etc.

As I had explained in the article from before, accumulative viewpoints from the majority of individuals in the country vary according to age; the older generation for the most part fearing the loss of traditional culture due to globalization, and the millennial generation more susceptible to accepting popular world culture. My friend of whom I speak falls into the latter category, being a 20 year old who is currently in school.

He explained to me a lot about the schooling system there, and obviously there are outstanding differences in all of the major areas, such as the curriculum, the way the system is set up, difference of grade levels, the significance of each grade level, even the names of the various levels of grade before extra schooling.

But here, I don’t want to necessarily talk about the differences of the system itself, but rather, more of the difference of attitude these differences make. In most lands, higher education is seen as extremely important for a prosperous career. In America, depending on the type of schooling, it is generally seen as the best possible option to secure a legitimate career, and even then there no guarantees of earning the desired career, or even liking the job the student ends of acquiring. A lot of the link between schooling and careers in America involves some shooting in the dark and prayer on behalf of the student. And at the same time, there are so many possibilities to earn a good living doing what one loves without a college education whatsoever.

The biggest difference with France’s education system is that it is viewed as less of an option. This is for two reasons: 1) Education there is dirt cheap if not free, and 2) YOU WILL NOT GET HIRED WITHOUT SOME SORT OF EDUCATION. There are various levels of education outside of the primary schooling, and depending on how many one goes through determines the type of job they have and basically how much they’ll be paid. But employers there don’t interview individuals to get a feel for their personality, or to ask about their experience or desire for the job, as most employers do here. There, there is only one question asked, essentially, “What school did you go to, and what level of diploma do you have so far?”

This takes away feeling any kind of relaxation about schooling and education. It also augments maturity. Schooling is hard work and takes a lot of time. On top of that, it is normal for an individual to find a job and move out by the time they’re 18, while they’re in school of course. This way of life makes learning and progress and independence a normal part of everyday life.

Do American youths not take the education as seriously as youths in other parts of the world? Are American millennials more dreamers, aware that there’s a slight possibility of a career here of becoming something like a performer, while the individuals of France end up being more practical thinkers? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

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